The Bandwagoner’s Guide to the Sabres, Part Two: The Defense

The concept of “the bandwagon fan” is very controversial, but I have a fondness in my heart for the new fan.  After all, it was at this time of year that I myself hopped on the Sabres bandwagon.  Every fan has to start somewhere, and often fandom is inspired by the playoffs.  The current Sabres may not feel like a bandwagon-y situation to a longtime fan, but I’m writing this series for the “Katebitses of 2007″; the guy or gal who is suddenly drawn to the Sabres, but doesn’t know where to begin.

Begin here, Bandwagoner!


Okay, so yesterday we learned about the goalie.  He’s pretty self explanatory (“NONE SHALL PASS,” says the goalie, especially when your goalie is Crunchy.  If your goalie is Toskala, he’s more like, “Oh sure.  Come on in, pucks.)

But what about all the skaters?  To the untrained eye, it looks like a gobbledy mess out there (actually, it looks like that to the semi-trained eye too), but the skaters do have defined roles.

One of those roles is, “the defenseman,” or, for our Canadian friends, “defenceman”.  (Canadians are weird.)

Part Two: The Defense

It’s the job of the defensemen to help guard the net by actively battling with the other team’s players.   Ideally, the defensemen skate around, hitting the other teams forwards and snatching the puck in order to scoot it out of harm’s way.

At any given time, two out of the five skaters on the ice are defensemen. If you’re having trouble spotting the defensemen, look for the guys skating backwards.  That’s usually them.  They’re also the guys who are hanging back at center ice when all the action is down in one end.  When I first started watching hockey I used to get cranky thinking,”That guy is just standing there at the blueline doing nothing. He should go try to score a goal.  Dumbass.” But then I was always pleasantly surprised when the play turned around and there were still Sabres between the other team and our goal.  “Toni Lydman, that was very clever of you to stay back behind the blueline so that the other team can’t skate right up to Crunchy!  You’re so smart!”

Fun Fact about defensemen and defense in general:  You can just call it “D”.  At first it will feel redonk to say “D” (very similar to the first time you said “redonk,” actually), but after a while it rolls right off the tongue.

Defensemen skate in pairs, so every defenseman has a BFF.  Sometimes Lindy (more on Lindy later) mixes the pairs up, but for the most part, the Sabres defensemen are monogamous and loyal to their BFF/life partner.

The Sabres strongest current pairing is Tallinder and Myers.  Tallinder separated from Lydman last season and at first he seemed to be having a REAL rough time, but now he’s found someone younger and sexier and his broken heart seems to be totally mended.

There are two noteworthy things about the Sabres defense.  1. Everyone thought they would be sucky this year, but they’re totally not,  and 2. They are NOT sucky, primarily because of this guy:

Tyler Myers. He's more than just an insanely long neck. He's also very good at hockey.

Tyler Myers is, like, six-years-old.  He’s a wee little baby.  (“Wee” in years, not in size.  He’s actually humongous.)  He’s a wee little baby who is about to win the Calder Trophy.  “Calder Trophy” is NHL-speak for “rookie of the year.”

In my not-at-ALL humble opinion, Tyler Myers is a big deal.  Last year, the Sabres were poo.  THIS year (Myers’ rookie year), the Sabres are third in the Eastern Conference.  Coincidence?  I think not.  In addition to being good at his job, he’s almost singlehandedly rehabilitated Tallinder, which was no small feat.  I used to worry that Myers would get hurt because he’s so spindly, but he seems to have the super-strength of a toddler.  You could toss him down a flight of stairs and I bet he’d just pop right back up and start skating around, no problem.  Tyler Myers is awesome and he’s changed everything about the Sabres.  Love him without reservation.

Here are the other defensemen:

Henrik Tallinder. Smiley, attractive, NOT a good drinking partner.

Toni, Tone, Tony Lydman. Hilarious. Good at hockey except for when he sucks. My favorite defenseman.

Steve Montador. Shockingly hot for a guy who's not that hot. Seems to not be an idiot. All-around alluring.

Craig Rivet. Got elected captain of the team on his first day as a Sabre, probably because he seems like an adult.

Chris Butler. Poor Butts. There is something wrong with him. Hopefully it's just a sophomore slump.

Andrej Sekera. Looks like a little old man for some reason.

In conclusion, the Sabres defense is pretty good and moderately foxy.  Since you’re a Bandwagoner, I am going to recommend that you focus on Myers.  You canNOT be a Sabres fan this spring without knowing that Tyler Myers is young, awesome, tall, and long-necked.  Myers is the most deserving of your bandwagoning affections, but really, all of these guys have their good qualities.  The defense is relatively safe waters for the new fan.

Have fun watching the D, Bandwagoners!


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment, when we begin to examine the “forwards”.

10 Responses to “The Bandwagoner’s Guide to the Sabres, Part Two: The Defense”

  1. 1 SueInVirginia April 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I do believe Hank can also rock a playoff beard!

  2. 2 Cecilia April 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    So many things to love about this post.

    Including “Last year, the Sabres were poo. ” (Really just about sums up the 08-09 season.)

    And also “but now he’s found someone younger and sexier and his broken heart seems to be totally mended.”. So true! Tyler fixed all of our broken hearts and made us remember how to love the Sabres again.

  3. 3 Sam April 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Kate, you never fail to utterly amuse me.

    Steve Montador. Shockingly hot for a guy who’s not that hot. Seems to not be an idiot. All-around alluring.

    SPOT-ON. I am with ya 100%

    Craig Rivet. Got elected captain of the team on his first day as a Sabre, probably because he seems like an adult.

    Soo true!

    Thank you for this brilliant insight into the “D”. I almost wish I was a new fan.. and if there was a contest between which team to pick, I’d go for the Sabres, solely based on your recommendations. And I’ll share your “Guide” to anyone looking for a playoff team to root for.

    WHOA the Sabres are a playoff team! WOOOOOT!

  4. 4 Matt April 13, 2010 at 1:32 am

    but now he’s found someone younger and sexier and his broken heart seems to be totally mended.

    Have you been writing Sabres slash fiction again? Please please pleasepleaseplease say no. Otherwise I promise to never talk to you again. =)

  5. 5 rasking for trouble April 13, 2010 at 7:25 am

    high quality keep em comin

  6. 6 rasking for trouble April 13, 2010 at 7:27 am

    ps. I can’t believe that dude’s name is “Craig Rivet”. Please tell me they don’t pronounce it “Riv-eh”.

  7. 7 Kathleen April 13, 2010 at 9:47 am

    This guide is way too awesome. I can’t wait to see what you do to the forwards (and dare I hope… the coaches?) I too appreciate Montador’s apparent lack of idiocy. Fun surprise. But I absolutely DO NOT think we should toss Mylers down the stairs, even if he is showing all indications of being a superhero.

  8. 8 Eternal Pessimist April 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

    This is perfect! Makes me wish I was a new fan with the freedom to choose whatever team I wanted…:D (I’m stuck with the Habs, sadly).

  9. 9 Katebits April 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    Rasking for trouble, his name is pronounced, “Ri-vay.”

    Eternal Pessimist, it’s never too late to become a Sabres fan! :D

  10. 10 stanford April 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Outstanding! I love the NHL to English Babblefish graphic. Just quality writing all around.

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